Lean-Driven Innovation

In 2005, Goodyear’s research and development (R&D) engine was not performing up to its full potential. The R&D organization developed high-quality tires, but the projects were not always successful. Goodyear embarked on a major initiative to transform its innovation creation processes by learning, understanding, and applying lean product development principles. Within five years, Goodyear saw its product development cycle times slashed by 70 percent, on-time delivery performance rise close to 100 percent, and throughput improve three-fold – all achieved with no increase in the R&D budget.
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Reviews & Endorsements

John Shook, Chairman and CEO, Lean Enterprise Institute

John Shook, Chairman and CEO
Lean Enterprise Institute

“Lean-Driven Innovation illustrates that the application of lean principles and practices entails more than simple cut and paste implementation of factory-floor practices to the complex knowledge work of engineering and innovation. Lean thinking applied to product and process development shares the basic principles of lean operations but goes about actualizing them in very different ways. In sharing the compelling story of applying lean principles to R&D processes in the large, global, complex enterprise that is Goodyear, Norbert Majerus offers a path for improving innovation processes that readers will find practical and applicable regardless of their business type or company size.” 

Peter T. Ward, Director, Center for Operational Excellence, The Ohio State University

Peter T. Ward, Director
Center for Operational Excellence, The Ohio State University

“Lean-Driven Innovation provides a set of guiding principles for how to build an innovative organization that are based on science and hard-won experience. The principles are brought to life by great examples from Goodyear’s impressive lean transformation in R&D. This is a must-read for innovation leaders. Although based on a transformation in R&D, the thinking applies equally well to software development and other project-based knowledge work.” 

Don Reinertsen, Author of The Principles of Product Development Flow

Don Reinertsen
Author of The Principles of Product Development Flow

“A candid and well-told story of the process by which a strong and innovative engineering culture incorporated the powerful principles of lean product development.” 

Rich Gildersleeve, Chief Technology Officer, DJO LLC

Rich Gildersleeve, Chief Technology Officer

“Norbert’s work is a particularly impactful effort as it is not purely academic or theoretical, but rather based and vetted upon the years of hard-fought experiences and knowledge gained at Goodyear throughout its lean product development journey. Readers will undoubtedly gain insights into a number of promising continual improvement processes that may be applied at their companies for immediate and positive impact.” 

Peg Pennington, Executive Director, Center for Operational Excellence, The Ohio State University

Peg Pennington, Executive Director
Center for Operational Excellence, The Ohio State University

“In Lean-Driven Innovation, Norbert Majerus brings insight and understanding to how Goodyear successfully applied lean principles to its R&D processes, and he offers readers the know-how and encouragement to do the same. The book is especially effective at showing how Goodyear has been able to make its R&D capacity visible and manageable, repetitively surfacing and resolving constraint issues and regularly improving the innovation process. These principles will help non-manufacturing processes far beyond R&D as well, such as administration, services, and healthcare.” 

Mark L. Spearman, Co-author of Factory Physics and Former Department Head, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Texas A&M University

Mark L. Spearman, Co-author of Factory Physics and Former Department Head
Industrial and Systems Engineering, Texas A&M University

“Norbert Majerus is a remarkable engineer and an extraordinary storyteller. This book tells the story of how he and his colleagues have taken their understanding of the basics of lean and applied it to the difficult task of product development. He is one of the few people I know who has so completely absorbed the concepts of the book, Factory Physics, that he has been able to apply them in a completely new environment—product innovation.” 

Peter Palmer, Senior Manager Process Support, Scania, and Board Member of LPPDE

Peter Palmer,
Senior Manager Process Support


Board Member

“When I first got to know Norbert Majerus at an LPPDE conference some years ago, I felt he was a remarkable man. He was sure of his deep knowledge, but he also was very interested in learning more, a lot more. This is a sign of a true lean practitioner. In Lean-Driven Innovation, Norbert shares some of his deep knowledge with us, and puts it in place with clear principles and real examples. He shows that focusing on true customer value — instead of the traditional focus on R&D cost — really pays off, and that building new value streams is the true objective for a product development organization. I love the last chapter Lean Never Ends, showing that the journey has just begun!” 

Lean-Driven Innovation
Available from CRC Press
Lean-Driven Innovation
Available from Amazon

About the Author

Norbert Majerus
Norbert Majerus Consulting Ltd.
Lean Champion, Speaker, Consultant, Coach, Book Author and Shingo Prize Winner

Beginning in 2005, Norbert Majerus has implemented a principles-based lean product development process at the three global innovation centers of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, first in Akron, Ohio, and then in Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, and Hanau, Germany. For nearly a decade, he has been Goodyear’s lean champion in research and development.

Mr. Majerus, born and raised in Luxembourg, began his career at Goodyear in 1979 with responsibility for materials development, aircraft tires, and competitor benchmarking. In 1983, he moved to Akron to start a “short assignment” in innovative products, which continues to this day. During that time, he was a recipient of discretionary funding for a revolutionary new product and manufacturing process, and he earned more than 60 patents and trade secrets (patentable ideas that the company chose not to patent).

Further assignments in Akron have included innovative processes; new tire development and project manager for North American, Asian, and European OEM customers; corporate benchmarking; design and test standards; activity-based R&D accounting; ISO/QS certification; and more.

Majerus acquired a six sigma master black belt in 2003 and a lean master black belt in 2005. He holds a master’s degree in chemistry from the Universitaet des Saarlandes, Saarbruecken, Germany.

Starting in January of this 2018, Norbert has “retired from Goodyear, but not from Lean”, and is working to share his knowledge and skills with other, newer adopters of Lean Product Development. 


Featured Press

Shingo Institute Research Award
April 26, 2016

Lean-Driven Innovation receives the Shingo Institute Research Award 

Lean-Driven Innovation by Norbert Majerus at Goodyear

In writing “Lean-Driven Innovation: Powering Product Development at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company,” Norbert Majerus incorporates the voices of real people and highlights real events to provide a behind-the-curtain look at how Goodyear transformed its product development process, slashing cycle time by more than 70 percent and providing a three-fold increase in on-time delivery.